Underwear gifting

In my capacity as Underwear Guy, I offer some gifting advice from the FrankDandy firm, which designs underwear (and related clothing items) that is about as far from plain white as you can get and talks about their stuff with deep seriousness (they have, omigod, a Philosophy):

“We gather inspiration from pulsating cities around the world, from its unique schemes of colour, contrast, attraction and repulsion. A great deal of inspiration descend from the inhabitants that make the city, and all the different subcultures that can only arise from the shelter of anonymity originated from city life. It’s always a thrill to get a glimpse of a hidden and forbidden secret world.”

In a moment, their Christmas ad, which presents a little puzzle in audience design. But first, a couple of samples:

The firm started with men’s underwear (in three styles: brief, trunk, and boxer) but now sells items for both men and women, a fact that will become inportant eventually.

Here’s a floral brief, with a guy in it:

And here a splashy boxer, suspended in space all on its own:

High-concept, intense underwear for the modern guy.

Now the ad:

What I’m interested in is the labels on the tags: do they name recipients or givers? Either way, it’s puzzling.

There are both male and female terms on the tags (plus lover, which in this context is probably meant to be unisex), and that’s fine if the tags name recipients, since FrankDandy offers both men’s and women’s underwear. But if the tags name recipients, why no boyfriend, father, husband, son, or daughter? Then, given that underwear is by definition an intimate present, some of those named are unlikely recipients: who gives underwear to their mother? who gives underwear to their brother or their buddy?

Now, suppose the tags are understood as naming givers. Same two concerns. Why isn’t husband on a tag? (Men certainly give underwear to their wives.) And some of those named are unlikely givers: how many women give underwear to their adult son? how many brothers give underwear to their sister or brother? and how many guys give underwear to their buddy (unless he’s also their lover; gay guys certainly give underwear to their lovers, and maybe as gag gifts to gay buddies, but that’s pretty much it in the buddy department)?

So who is the ad aimed at?

My judgment: love the underwear, hate the text.

2 Responses to “Underwear gifting”

  1. IrrationalPoint Says:

    What seems particularly curious is that some of the tags appear to be attached to the same boxes, so I initially read them as to/from tags. But as you point out, the text doesn’t make a lot of sense, and it makes even less sense if you read them as pairs (do wives send their non-spouse buddies underwear? Do buddies send other people’s wives underwear? What if your buddy is also your spouse? Why would you call them your buddy?).

    (And other reasons I do not work in marketing).


  2. More trendy underwear « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

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